All about the Kö 2018 - the water fight in Düsseldorf

Rund um die Kö 2018 – Die Wasserschlacht von Düsseldorf

What a day. Wet, wetter, September 23rd. The start of autumn on the calendar then showed where the hammer was: felt more rain on one day than in the entire summer of 2018. But that's the way it is with outdoor events, you can plan, organize and prepare well, the weather god laughs out loud and then does what he wants. It was astonishing, however, that the mood among the athletes and spectators hardly suffered even under the constant rain, there were just fewer people there. Whereby the number of waterproofs does not have to hide from the visitor numbers of the “Rund um die Kö” editions before 2016, at that time often in bright sunshine in July.

Rejuvenation for the traditional race

It is a great honor to support a traditional event on Düsseldorf's Königsallee on the occasion of its 50th birthday. Even when the first thing to do is blow off a few layers of dust and question a good portion of “we-have-always-done-it-that way”. We may love cycling from a different perspective than many ex-pros and active officials do, but we love it. Our way of organizing events and attaching great importance to atmosphere and good and individual music may appear to some as unnecessary frills. A website for the Kö race, however, probably also.

This is particularly weird because the basic idea is simply great: a cycling event on one of the most well-known shopping streets in Germany. Bike race before Dior and Gucci. Cycling on a boulevard lined with car parks, which, as a car catwalk, attracts countless horsepower cars every day, which move much more slowly than most racing cyclists due to the traffic density. Reversing the situation one day a year is not a change in mobility, but a charming, because tongue-in-cheek signal. Our mayor would like more bicycles on the Kö, more than "Around the Kö" is hardly possible. Above all, we do it so sexy that soon the boys with the cameras only want to take pictures of racing cyclists. Copenhagen Cycle Chic in Little Paris.

The Kö in continuous rain

A knee-deep curtsey to all the athletes who took up the challenge on Deluge Day. Starting with the youth classes in the morning, through the numerous “Petit Départ” finalists in the two decisive races, all fans of the rigid gait, the derny pilots, seniors and the elite drivers. Almost all of them looked like participants in an absurd triathlon right from the start, in which you have to swim across the Kö-Graben in cycling clothing before the actual competition.

In the best weather, the race track is considered to be complicated and exhausting. When it was completely flooded, the border between grip, drift and sliding of the front wheel in the tight 90° bends was wafer-thin. There were also one or two falls, fortunately the injuries were manageable and those affected accepted them with a shrug of the shoulders. From the kids of Petit Depart just like the hard bones of the fixed scene. Tough Cookies, those cyclists.

Two years ago, we opened the door to the Kö for the non-conformists among cyclists with the “This is not Potcrit” criterion. Back then with success and the help and support of Rad Race, FixedPott and the U-Lock Justice crew. This year, our Düsseldorf colleagues from LifeIsARide after being under the Pentecost Cologne Classic made the neighbors happy with a crit, played their first home game and did everything right. The organizers received a lot of flowers from the participants from all over Europe, a compliment that not only applies to the LifeIsARide crew, but ultimately includes everyone who worked in front of and behind the scenes. From the stewards at the route, the volunteers at the registration to the first aiders to the helpers at the sports showers. From the DJs on the stage to the moderators along the route. And of course for everyone involved SG Radschläger , Sascha Grünewald, Ralf Dahmen and their team.

The delegation of the BDR . Communication patterns seem to have been established here that one is seldom confronted with in normal life. I'll gladly admit that it would be difficult for me to work under the German label "Wettkampfausschuss", but you just have to or can only take that with a sense of humour. If someone wants to see what it looks like when there is a thick layer of dust on it somewhere: take a look at the website sufficient. After that, please think of Rudolf Scharping and look for the cross-connection to the description “Dynamic Renovator”.

A look ahead

But we in Düsseldorf are very modern. It remains to be hoped that those responsible in the city of Düsseldorf will recognize the potential that lies dormant in the Kö race. And have the leisure, with the right partners, to bring “Rund um die Kö 2.0” back to the status and level of the most successful years, carefully and gently, without losing its actual character or turning it into a completely commercialized but soulless number.

In the social networks, the desire for an associated event for everyone arose. Certainly an exciting addition to the different races. However, it must be considered how such a racing event can be sensibly incorporated, because the usual route of the Königsallee with a length of 1100 meters and its square shape is not suitable for this or only to an extremely limited extent. It is important to think about extensions, at least up to Corneliusplatz, since its redesign has been obvious.

Kö race 2018
Photo: Philipp Hympendahl

But other ideas are also welcome, and there are many creative new racing formats that go beyond the usual schemes. Cycling is reinventing itself from the inside because it is being lived by a new generation. Away from pigeonholes, sometimes away from clubs and also away from conventions. This must be understood as a stimulus and motivation, not as a threat to traditional structures, as it seems in some cases.

We have gained a lot of experience in the four weeks of our volunteer work. The support we received was great. There is interest in “Rund um die Kö”, exhibitors and sponsors know about the potential of the event and are interested in working together. We have made every effort to create the appropriate framework conditions and would like to thank everyone who, with their help and work, made "Rund um die Kö 2018" possible in its form:

Stadtsparkasse Dusseldorf + Blackbear Real Estate + core house + Art Invest Real Estate

G31 – Creative Consulting, Design & Communication + Merz Concept Audio Engineering + Printable

ABUS Cycling + Biehler Sports + fizik + Genesis bikes + Grofa Action Sports + HJC Sports + listnride + MUC-Off + Sports Nut GmbH + Wahoo Fitness

Sounds: Michael Scheibenreiter + Harmonious Thelonious + Penelope

Thanks to Dietmar Wolf for his nudges, Klaudia Zepuntke for commitment and her radiant good mood, thanks to everyone who distributed flyers and hung up posters and to everyone who was there, braved the rain and laughed and suffered a lot, on and off the way.

Special thanks go to the Düsseldorf photographer and cycling expert Philipp Hympendahl. He is there with his camera at all major cycling events, his large-format pictures were part of the large Tour de France exhibition in the NRW Forum and adorn reports in the German Tour Magazin as well as issues of the English cult magazine Rouleur. Philipp has provided us with his “Rund um die Kö 2018” pictures.

And Kerstin Kortekamp was also out and about with the camera and photographed the Kö in all its facets, with all the situations, types, queens and heroes of the water fight. Have fun with the pictures:

The cap

Around the Kö website:

Philipp Hympendahl “Around the Kö 2018” & Kerstin Kortekamp “Around the Kö 2018”

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